Can’t cry hard enough

February 28, 2016 Leave a comment

But I can’t cry hard enough… for you to hear me now

(William Brothers)

RIP you beautiful soul, heaven is so glad you’re coming home today

Categories: Uncategorized

I’ll ride with you

December 16, 2014 Leave a comment

December 15, 2014. I read news and comments in social media about Sydney siege and my mind flashed back to a series of events in 2001. September 12, 2011. That morning, like any other days, I took a train to my office where I did my internship in Munich. As I stepped into the train, I felt that all eyes were on me. Many of them held newspapers (Die Bild Zeitung) with one-page sized picture of Osama bin Laden. Some stared at me from the top of my head to the tip of my toe, some with disgust. I was immediately in shock. Hey, just because I wear hijab doesn’t mean I agree with the 911 horrible attack, in fact, I condemned it wholeheartedly. That moment was enough to make my day gloomy while my colleagues tried to console me. Days and weeks after, being stared at intently became normal. One day I even got cursed and spit on.

The most memorable and funniest insult I ever experienced was when my boss and I went to a restaurant to have my farewell lunch in downtown Munich. It was my last day in Munich before I came back to Hamburg. An old lady, in her 60’s half yelled at the waitress asking her to tell me to get out of the restaurant. The fact that the waitress ignored her drove her out of control. She did not give up yelling at the waitress. She said, in German, that she did not deserve sitting in a restaurant next to a Muslim. My boss looked at me in the eye. I forced to smile as if I said it was ok. All other visitors did pay attention to what happened. They couldn’t stand not to look at me or the old woman. For a second I was thinking to just leave the place. But I convinced myself that the waitress would never tell me to go for at least two reasons: 1. It is against the law, 2. I was with my German boss.

Since the waitress refused to say anything to me, the old woman started to talk on the phone in a roaring voice, that time in English. She was having a conversation with someone she claimed to be named Ariel Sharon. She said loudly that how on earth a muslim woman could sit in a restaurant next to her. It was too much for her to bear. That was when it started to get funny and the visitors finally realised that the woman was just another lunatic. They did not care about her and me anymore.

Although I canceled the dessert, I finally stayed there, finishing my meal. It was an experience, which I did not regret. It taught me an important lesson that although there are narrow-minded people, the majority of us are sane. I was obviously hurt but I did not lose my faith in humanity. All other visitors, although did not say anything to defend me, at least did not support that old woman.

My impression about Germany and Germans is very positive. They are in general tolerant and have respect towards other cultures and religions. I assumed that the unfortunate events were just spontaneous reactions by those who happened to be emotional. The sentiments are glitches that I hope will be diminished by now, not sharpened. But I have to admit I had fear. I had fear that someone may dislike me or even attack me for being a Muslim.

Tonight, as I read about I’ll ride with you in Sydney and in other cities in Australia, I moved myself to tears. I am sure it touched many others who have felt the same fear I was feeling 13 years ago. This teaches us that instead of keeping score, you can choose to prevent more innocent victims. So, when I say that I’ll ride with you gives me hope, I am not exaggerating….

White Dream

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Last night was the fourth time I dreamt about the same topic

The car that brings me to your house stops right in front of two buildings located in an alley

A perfect alley for getting lost

Everything is white including the bed, the bed sheet, the door, and the walls

There is a connecting door behind the bedroom that will lead to where you are

The land where a school is located is so huge

The school building is right in the middle occupying only less than a half of the total space

And one of the pupils approaches me

She is a bit filthy and she is retarded but she is definitely nice

She talks to me and within a second we are in deep conversation

In the end, we never met

But I can still smell your odour on this white bed of mine as I awake

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Tahfeez ul Qur’an

November 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Today, in our Whats app group consisting of four Indonesian women scholars, we discussed:

Me, ” I really want to memorise Qur’an. I want to learn Arabic for understanding Qur’an. I searched in Brisbane that there are some schools offering such programs.”

Friend SN, “Yeah, me, too… I wish I could, too.”

Friend CD, “I want to do it, too…”

Me, “I don’t know what I have been doing for 36 years. Why I want to do it just now not when I was younger…”

CD, “Because we are so busy going to school… LOL!”

SN, “No. Because we go to school and when we are at school, this kind of desire arises.”

Me, “Alright, let’s start from this group. What if we memorise several verses once a week…”

Silence…

LOL

Indonesian women and shopping

November 12, 2014 4 comments

Days before we departed for hajj, I told everyone that I would not shop for “oleh-oleh” (souvenirs) there. I would rather get stuff from Tanah Abang, South East Asia’s largest textile market that surely provides almost all things you want to get from Saudi Arabia, such as: dates, zamzam, clothes, scarves, tasbih (prayer beads), chocolates and snacks, different kinds of peas and nuts, sajadah (prayer mats), and anything you can think of, just name it. It is the habit of Indonesians who travel anywhere, not only for pilgrimage, to bring home souvenirs for their big family, colleagues, and friends. If you have two siblings, two sis/bros in laws, four nieces/nephews, four cousins, two pairs of parents/in-laws, one grandmother, six aunties and uncles, a driver, two maids, ten neighbours who live on the same street, ten friends who attend the same Quran study groups, 20 colleagues, etc etc etc… Imagine how many souvenirs you need to buy. Just thinking of it made me tensed, so I decided that I would never buy anything for anyone except: my daughter, my mother, my mother in law, and my sister. So I tried to stick to my pledge when I was in Mecca. However, I ran out of clothes and I needed to shop 1 piece of abaya. I went to the nearest shopping mall from masjidil Haram. The day after, I came back there just to buy three pieces of clothes for my daughter, one piece of abaya for my mother, one sajadah for my mother in law, and one piece of abaya for my sister. These six stuff I packed in one bag and I needed to rush to go to masjid for it was almost time for Ashr (afternoon) prayer. While I was praying, suddenly the thought of all the stuff in the store disturbed my mind. I remembered the colourful flowery sajadah as if it asked me to come back to the store and get it for me and for my best friends…Before I knew it my mind was wandering. A minute later I woke myself up and I came back to my consciousness to recite surahs and duaas in prayer. Because of this moment, I realised that this mundane thing like shopping can really disturb your observance in the holy land, the one and only reason why you are there. So then I decided not to go to shopping mall anymore to get anything for anyone. Five days in Mecca went by and we spent 9 days in Medina for the so called Arbain prayers (40 times prayer) in Masjid Nabawi. The first day in Medina was enough for me to observe the street sellers shouting to attract attention of the masjid goers to stop and shop. Every time I came to and fro, I saw them. But I had such a strange feeling. None of the things they offered attracted me. In my eyes, all the clothes were shabby, all the headscarves looked like rags, and all the prayer beads were dull. That feeling helped me from buying unimportant things. (Don’t get me wrong. I love shopping. I am a ‘normal’ Indonesian woman. But possibly at a lower degree compared to my fellow Indonesians:-)). So I was shocked when I saw other Indonesians bought up almost all prayer mats on the street. That moment, I was queueing in the line for lunch, I saw an Indonesian lady who was having a bit difficulty carrying at least 10-15 prayer mats in her two hands. I made an extra effort not to show any expression that would offend her. However, I think I was not very successful. She might read an “electric” shock on my face. I did not say a word but she tried to explain , “You know, it is very cheap here. It costs only IDR 60,000 (around USD 5) per piece.” (1 USD = IDR 12,500). She continued “In Indonesia, it is priced higher. The cheapest one you could get might cost you IDR 75,000.” I was shocked, but after hearing her saying that I could not get any more shocked. So she spent her time just to buy things you can always buy back home, that may only cost you 1 dollar extra per piece. Even if you buy 10-20 pieces, you only save at most 20 dollars!!! I can’t understand the logic that you waste such precious time for shopping, that you could’ve used for observances, prayers and many other things you are supposed to do in the Holy city. And that was only for saving 20 dollars. If you calculate the profit and loss of this activity, I can go into details. For a hajj trip organised by private travel agencies (not by the government), you need to pay between USD 8500 (for 4-people shared bedroom) and USD 9000 (for 2-people shared bedroom). If the exchange rate is 1 USD = IDR 12,500, you need to pay between IDR 106,250,000 and IDR 112,500,000. Such a huge amount. It is considered very expensive even for the rich. But people are willing to pay such a huge amount of money, because you have one divine objective of hajj: to get closer to the Creator. All other “benefits” will follow such as: to perform the fifth pillar of Islam and to get the rewards that all your sins will be forgiven. So… talking about cost and benefit of doing shopping in the Holy land, I bet you actually lose because you cannot devote 100% of your prayers when your mind is preoccupied by the materialistic allurement. Even if you save 20 dollars per one time shopping (if you shop 2 times a day in 9 days), in the end you save 180 dollars, this amount is not comparable to the 9,000 dollars you pay for the whole trip.

The day you returned

November 11, 2014 Leave a comment

Today is the day I never thought would come

The day when I write this poem for you

The day when I feel the saddest about you

The day when I finally say the unspoken sorry

It lingered in my mind the way you held my hand

When I watched you lying ill and helpless

You held my hand so strongly and I reciprocated

You were hiding your pain

I wanted to apologise as I touched you

But the words never came out

I could not help my tears from falling

I judged you and I stayed away

But I knew you were a good person

A devout Muslima who was simply obeying His law

In Arofah, the place when I was the closest to Him

I unexpectedly saw your face, the face I had not seen for long

I sent you my prayer and never told you

Only I was sure that you felt it, you felt the same desert breeze that I felt

You were there many times in my dreams

Still I did not have the courage to say it

All the years when you needed me

All the moments when I needed you

Have gone wasted

I was not there when I was supposed to hold your arms

When I was supposed to comfort you

Until the day we last met

When we talked like two lovers longing for each other

I never said it

I never said I was sorry

Now that all your pain has gone away

You’re in the best place exactly as Allah promised you

Allow me to say I’m sorry

I’m sorry, my sister in Islam

Tangerang, 10 November 2014

The day you returned to Allah

Divine music

October 31, 2014 Leave a comment

I used to say

Chopin is a genius

Mesmerized by Chopin’s mazurkas, polonaises, nocturnes and rondos, I always say, all other musics are mediocre

All those baloney pop songs turn into annoyance

Chopin is perfection

But that was before I realised

That the true and divine music is the feeling I feel in my heart every time i hear it

It addicts me

Now I feel like I cannot face the day without listening to the melodious tune of the truth

The Al Qur’an